The South China Morning Post says “two well-placed sources” believe that the man considered second most powerful in China, Wang Qishan 王岐山, will retire after the 19th Party Congress (Why is this significant? See explainer). Wang is currently one of only seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC), and he heads up the anti-corruption taskforce, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
He is expected to be replaced at both the PBSC and CCDI by Zhao Leji 赵乐际, currently head of the Party’s Organization Department. One source explained:
“Given Zhao’s age [of 60], he could end up serving two terms on the Politburo Standing Committee…His role in the party will rise. This will help to establish continuity and to deepen the anti-corruption work. His experience as the party’s organisation chief will be valuable for the new job.”
The two anonymous sources also told the SCMP that “President Xi Jinping’s trusted ally Li Zhanshu [栗战书] stands a good chance of becoming chairman of China’s parliament,” a post currently occupied by Zhang Dejiang 张德江.
Meanwhile, the western China-watching world remains split on Wang’s fate:
- The Paulson Institute’s Macro Polo panel assigned only a 10 percent chance to the ‘norm-wrecking’ scenario that keeps Wang in his position, saying that ‘even with a very strong Xi Jinping, [this] would face significant criticism and pushback at every level of the CCP.’”
- The Brookings Institute published a guide to 12 “top contenders” for the Politburo Standing Committee that did not even include Wang’s name, indicating a prediction of 0 percent probability that he would stay on.
- Reuters recently polled 16 “people with ties to the leadership,” finding that 12 of them, or 75 percent, believe he will retain a leadership role.
- Global network Young China Watchers polled members at 10 chapters around the world, and found that 72 percent believe Wang will maintain a position on the Politburo Standing Committee.
- An article (in Chinese) on the U.S.-based Chinese news and gossip site Boxun quotes a number of scholars in Taiwan, most of whom seem to doubt that Wang will remain on the PBSC.
More related to the 19th Party Congress
The ayes have it / China Heritage
On the Ninth Party Congress in 1969.
‘Coup plotters foiled’: Xi Jinping fended off threat to ‘save Communist Party’ / SCMP
“Chinese securities watchdog chief names former Chongqing boss Sun Zhengcai as part of a cabal that schemed to seize power.”
Tillerson hails ties with India, but criticizes China and Pakistan / NYT (paywall)
Remarks on “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century” / US Department of State
China calls on US to ‘abandon its prejudices’ after Tillerson rebuke / CNN
Chinese police extradite American man wanted on child sex abuse charges / SCMP
Population and family planning policies
Analysis of China’s one-child policy sparks uproar / Science Magazine
China’s rogue aid to Africa isn’t as much or as controversial as we thought / Quartz
Australia and human rights
Beijing pulls out of human rights dialogue with Canberra / The Australian